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According to data from the United Nations, one in eight people worldwide was over 60 years of age in 2015. By 2030, older individuals are projected to account for one in six people globally. This presents many opportunities for natural support for healthy aging.
Free Radicals and Aging
Aging involves the accumulation of oxidative damage in cells and tissues. Younger people are naturally better protected from free radicals and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) through balanced activity of the mitochondria, efficient antioxidant and DNA repair systems, and active protein degradation machinery. The aging process is generally accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction leading to increased free radical production that, in turn, leads to an overloading of the defense systems and oxidative damage of cellular components[i].
Oxidative stress and an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants can impact several health issues such asoxidation of blood lipids (cholesterol and triglyceride), increased risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, joint pain and stiffness, granular pigment accumulation in retinal vessels, loss of skin elasticity, thinning of skin layers, etc.
The Importance of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural substances that help to prevent the harmful effects of excessive ROS activity, and combat or delay cell damage. Avoiding an excess of ROS, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and supplementing with astaxanthin, can help prevent oxidative stress. Research continues to show that natural astaxanthin is one of the most potent antioxidants available. Studies demonstrate that it is 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C, 770times more than Coenzyme Q10, 100 times more powerful than vitamin E, and five times more powerful than β-carotene in trapping energy from singlet oxygen, one of the most common ROS found in the body.
Why Consider Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin can use different methods to prevent oxidative stress. Astaxanthin counteracts potentially harmfulfree radicals/ROS by trapping energy (quenching) and the transfer of electrons, or through hydrogen abstraction (scavenging). Energy from the high-energy ROS compounds can be transferred to astaxanthin by direct contact, and that energy is converted to heat. In this process of quenching, astaxanthin remains intact so that it can undergo further cycles of singlet oxygen quenching. Singlet molecular oxygen is a strong pro-oxidant that displays substantial reactivity towards DNA, proteins, and lipids.
Supported by Science
Astaxanthin has numerous health benefits supported by extensive scientific research, including 50 human clinical trials and more than 1400 peer-reviewed papers . Astaxanthin is extremely useful for healthy aging applications, providing support for a number of age-related concerns including: brain, heart, eye, joint, and skin health.
One study demonstrated that daily astaxanthin supplementation improved cognitive health and learning scores
in healthy middle-aged and elderly subjects with age-related forgetfulness. Another human trial suggested that astaxanthin may help protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Studies of individuals with age-related macular degeneration have demonstrated significant improvements in retinal health when given astaxanthin and other carotenoids. Astaxanthin helps support eye health by reducing oxidative damage and improving blood flow in capillaries.
Astaxanthin supports cardiovascular health by improving blood lipid profiles. It also has a protective effect against cholesterol and triglyceride oxidation.
Natural astaxanthin helps boost energy delivery, and in turn, helps the heart muscle contract strongly and efficiently. Astaxanthin also supports normal, healthy skin by improving skin elasticity and moisture, and reducing wrinkle formation. Concerns regarding healthy aging must be addressed throughout life, and it is never too late to start supplementing with a powerful antioxidant like astaxanthin.
This article is available in the SSW Special Issue 2018 of Nutraceuticals Now